Shorting the distance, enhancing relationships

The concept I’mHome, is a carry on device that attempts to bridge the communication gaps that distance pose. I’mHome aims to allow individuals in long-distance relationships (LDRs) to feel the presence of their partner not by enabling direct/verbal communication, but instead by enabling more abstract and meaningful interactions that allow the users to feel emotionally closer.

The interaction flow of the I’mHome's system try to target the sensory system of the user, using 3 main features, light color, motion and sound.

Light is vital to the design as light is an imperative visual cue for the sensory system of the user and serves as a visual cue in which impact greatly other senses. Thereby highest brightness would indicate a high detection of motion on the other partner's side that would be reflected actively through color.
Currently 4 colors representing basic emotions at the ends signaling negative and positive emotions and high or low intensity of self control by the user. This emotions represented in color are able to combine to produce more complex emotions that are reflected with a color mixture of both direct inputs of the device.

Motion being such a natural and abstract form of expression it was found to be transmissible serving to supply the device's passive interaction due to its abstract nature. When the device senses proximity it will increase the brightness of its respective counterpart signaling the presence of their partner around their home environment.

I’mHome sound adds a layer of intimacy and meaningfulness to the interaction, as users would be able to solidify their understanding of the emotional mood of his/her respective partner by the frequencies that are representative of the emotional state that is desired to be transmittable.

Technical Description

Device Description
TCP Connection
(The server needs to be change accordingly to the current static IP, and the photon must be on the same hotspot network)
The characteristics of the audio:
Direct output 8 Ohm / 0.5W speaker : use the plastic speaker
Dedicated 16-bit DAC / PWM output: use an external amplifier
Socket for micro-SD memory: Store the files locally mp4 module
Sounds Used at Exhibition
(Sound was played through the local server instead of the sd card module due to speaker malfunctioning)
Capacitor sensors
(Instructions for capacitor sensor on arduino one. I'm Home device uses copper instead of foil)
Photon Code
(Pins must be changed accordingly in code to the desired set up, the range of the devices must be accordingly to the share hotspot network range. - LED Ring behaves accordingly to the research diagram )
Research & Rationale

Final Statement

I'm Home after the exhibition was able to demonstrate the feasibility and reliability of all it's implementation with success, as most of people that attended our post seemed to find our concept easy to understand and relate. Most people were excited to try the I'm Home prototype, the combination of color, mixture, smooth transition plus sound was well received by the audience. These layers were proven to be combined properly in regards to the user interaction side.

However, one observation that was raised upon the exhibition and it was about the actual design of the device. People often mistake the device as a derivation of a gaming mouse. The prominent shape of the motion sensor were mistaken as a button, and a scroll. Meanwhile feedback about the design was given, as people were suggesting to change the form opf the prototype into something smaller, more compact, and more meaningful (In relation to emotional connection).

The next steps for the project would be to refine the form of the device based on user preferences. Advice is given to focus audience, as by the time the form was to be decided in a 'neutral' form for the audience. Previous research results were found to present high discrepancy among males and female users, and while form was not received negatively during exhibition, it was noted that the device did not caused the emotional impact the device was seeking to achieve. This was mainly noticed during the constant questioning of the form's rationale with most of user finding the shape 'not romantic' and 'unimpressive'.